Germany vs Chile – Thursday 19:00BST/20:00CEST/21:00MSK – Kazan Arena, Kazan.
Both these sides got off to winning starts on Matchday one – however it was the VAR technology that stole the show in both fixtures. FIFA’s introduction is supposed to help the officials make the correct decision, for the good of the game—on reflection; the VAR threw up more questions than it answered. Is the footage being correctly interpreted? Alexis Sanchez looked offside for Chile’s second goal against Cameroon while Australia had an almost certain handball overlooked in their second goal build up, the German’s were quite rightly furious.
Although victorious against Australia in Sochi on Monday night, the world champions had a less than convincing start to their Confederations Cup. Early pressure and total dominance was only rewarded by a Lars Stindl strike on five minutes. Germany guilty of not creating enough chances from their full control of the game as the first half wore on. It was unsurprising, then, to see Australia forge out one opportunity, to which they took full advantage of. Bernd Leno gifting the Australians not one but two goals. Even as Goretzka fired home Germany’s third after an impressive build-up, there was still a feeling the Socceroos could make life difficult for die Mannschaft – and that they did on 56 minutes, Tomi Juric pounced on Leno’s second mistake to slot home Australia’s second.
As opening games go, it was more uncomfortable than was necessary for Joachim Löw’s young side. Leon Goretzka impressed throughout the game and the introduction of Timo Werner saw the RB Leipzig forward contribute more within his first five minutes of coming on than Sandro Wagner had done for his entire game — the Hoffenheim striker was exceptionally disappointing. Germany will need to be of a higher level to deal with a Chile side full of international class and names. Löw must be thinking about rotation, Ter Stegen would add a level of composure missing on Monday night, whereas both Emre Can and Timo Werner showed their class to give the German head coach a decision to make—experience or results?
La Roja could be forgiven for being ‘bit part’ players in their opening fixture versus Cameroon. Although the Copa America champions came through as 0:2 victors against their African opponents, it was the VAR that stole the headlines. “Total confusion” was one description given to the use of the latest technology. While television replays seem to back up the first VAR challenge, the way in which it was orchestrated did little to quell the feeling that the use of technology is in its infancy and not as smooth as it could be – especially given the testing that has gone on behind the scenes. It was Chile’s second goal that caused the biggest ruckus, Vargas, adjudged to be not interfering with play, was given the all clear by the VAR. However, this didn’t negate the fact that Sanchez was clearly offside when he received the initial ball in Chile’s attack. More questions than answers once again for FIFA’s new system. All of this confusion aside, Chile demonstrated on the pitch that their strong squad is worthy of a ‘favourites’ tag for this competition. Vargas, Sanchez and Bayern München’s Arturo Vidal will be more than a handful for Löw’s young Mannschaft. With both teams strong in attack, it may come down to who is more robust at the back that decides this fixture. The Copa America back-to-back champions will certainly feel they are the stronger of the two sides heading into this fixture.
Germany vs Chile – Players to look out for:
Leon Goretzka #8 – Germany
The 22-year-old Schalke central midfielder was die Mannschaft’s shining light on Monday night versus Australia. Omnipresent throughout the fixture, he had the composure to draw in a challenge, leading to a penalty, late on in the first half. Goretzka then smashed an unstoppable shot past Maty Ryan to earn him his first senior goal for the national side four minutes into the second half. Having only played competitively on two prior occasions for Löw, both versus San Marino, his display against Australia should have cemented him a guaranteed start against Chile. Playing 41 times for Schalke last season, both domestically and in the Europa League, the central midfielder scored eight times, assisting six—a good return in an overwhelmingly disappointing season for the Royal Blues. His hold up play and defensive contributions allow him to play centrally or as a defensive midfielder. However, with an ability to cut inside and link up well with those around him, he can be relied upon to play further up the field and build the attack.
Arturo Vidal #8 – Chile
Vidal will be all too familiar to his German opponents on Thursday night; the Bayern München midfielder is well versed in winning competitions, carrying a significant threat to any side he faces. Scoring La Roja’s opening goal on Sunday, Vidal rose to head home from six yards following a cross by Alexis Sanchez — a powerful header typifying the strength he carries on the pitch. Vidal has the tag as one of the best midfielders in the world for a very good reason—his all-round game is almost perfect. Short or long range passing brings little concern, his ability to hold up the ball, or drive and strike the finish, allows the 30-year-old to play centrally, defensively or as the attacking midfielder. The only Achilles heel to his game is his tendency to be caught up in a ‘hotheaded moment’. With this game coming in the group stages, and not having the pressure of knock out football, there should be no reason for Vidal to be caught up in any descending red mist. His experience at the very highest levels of competitive football brings a danger that could undo a young German midfield.
Germany vs Chile – Match Stats
- Germany have a perfect competitive fixture record against Chile – P3 W3
- Overall the teams have faced each other seven times – GER W5, CHI W2
- Both teams won their opening games in this years’ Confederations Cup
- They last faced off in a friendly fixture in 2014 – GER winning 1:0 in Stuttgart
- This will be the first-time Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has faced Germany as a head coach.
Prediction: Germany vs Chile – 2:2
Germany vs Chile – Possible Lineups
Ter Stegen; Hector, Süle, Ginter; Draxler, Goretzka, Can, Kimmich, Rudy; Werner, Stindl
Coach: Joachim Löw
Herrera; Isla, Medel, Jara, Beausejour; Vidal, Diaz, Silva; Sanchez, Varga, Valencia
Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions — he can be found somewhere between the Kop and Yellow Wall. Published in both local and international publications, such as the Liverpool Echo and Sport Bild, he also contributes to television and radio across the United Kingdom. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) he lives and breathes football. Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams